Splendid luxury at the Midland Hotel's spa
Product: www.thespaat themidland.co.uk Price: £119.00 Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
What they say...
For the first time, Manchester has a luxurious spa dedicated to helping you relax, unwind and enjoy quality treatments. Leave the crowds, queues, hustle and bustle at street level, and head down the spiral staircase to an astonishingly calm space. Take a few seconds out of your busy day and let us take you on a journey of relaxation.
What we say...
The Spa at The Midland is a new purpose-built haven in the basement at Manchester's iconic Midland Hotel. The hotel opened in 1903 to serve the bustling Victorian Manchester Central Railway Station, and simply oozes history and romance.
After meeting up with my good friend Ali, we travelled into the city by tram. From the terminal we hailed a black cab and arrived at the hotel in style at twilight.
A top-hatted doorman greets residents at The Midland which looked at its most glamorous, lit up in the summer's evening light.
We entered the impressively vast reception which I am guessing hasn't changed much since the 1930s, and wow, what an amazing first impression: the atmosphere was pure old-fashioned glamour.
After checking into our room we had a drink in the Octagon lounge, beneath vaulted ceilings and a huge ornate metal lamp.
Our twin room echoed the grandeur of the reception, with really high ceilings and tall arched double windows flanked by original iron railings. There was a separate dressing area which led on to the bathroom. The room had lovely touches such as a trio of tins of The Midland's own leaf tea (complete with quirky self-assembly tea bags!) I noticed how quiet the room was, no noise at all from the road or neighbouring rooms.
After a very good night's sleep we had an excellent breakfast in a subtly themed garden room, we found ourselves sitting among a charming mix of chandeliers, pagodas and potting benches.
Despite it being mid-summer, the rain had set in, so we were very happy to seek sanctuary in the hotel spa which had been completely purpose-built in The Midland's basement about a year ago.
Our spa package included a 55-minute treatment which we chose from a menu, and we opted for an exfoliating body scrub followed by a back massage. My friend Ali has concerns about eczema which were carefully taken into account, and she was advised to opt for gentle body brushing as an exfoliant.
No such gentle option for me, I was treated to a brisk salt body scrub which was bracing but wonderfully refreshing, followed by an extensive back massage. The whole experience lasted for an hour, after which we were escorted to the relaxation room. After choosing one of the soothing teas I opted to relax for a while in one of four hanging "teepee" pods which are the focal point of the opulent relaxation area.
Still in our robes, at one o'clock, it was time to sample lunch at the spa. The tables at first glance appeared to be in the entrance corridor, but they were cleverly hidden behind an elegant "chain mail" curtain, and beautifully lit. Once seated there it was a very cosy atmosphere.
In the spirit of our "cleansing" day, we opted for a delicious superfood platter, rather than afternoon tea, although it was extremely tempting to go for the latter, especially when we saw cakes being presented in all their glory, to the table next to us!
After lunch we sampled the steam room, sauna, pool and jacuzzi, all of which were excellent, punctuated by a wonderful hot/cold experience shower.
We eventually emerged from the basement sanctuary having been blissfully unaware of the outside world, mobile phone signals and the rain, to find that the sun was finally peeking through the cloudy summer Saturday... great timing! We made our way home past the elegant curves of The Manchester Library, through the city's vibrant streets, stopping for a quick coffee opposite the bustling Exchange Square, before heading for our tram north, and back to reality.
The Spa at The Midland offers a chance to swap the real world world for relaxation and true luxury, and I would thoroughly recommend it. Customer service is so important and we found the staff very welcoming.
An overnight Spa break at The Midland includes breakfast and entrance to the spa plus a 55-minute treatment from selected options is from £119 per guest.
For more information visit www.thespaatthemidland.co.uk